A recent 7% drop in a business spend index based on internet procurement data indicates that many companies are growing more cautious in their spending plans for the rest of this year, though manufacturers and retailers are showing more confidence, Coupa Software reports.

Based on their spending through online procurement systems in the second quarter, businesses in general appear to be growing more cautious in their spending plans “through at least the end of 2019,” Coupa Software says in a recent Business Spend Index report.

Coupa, a provider of online procurement and spend management technology, says its Coupa Business Spend Index dropped in overall value by 7.1% in the second quarter, to 101.1 from 108.8. Businesses in manufacturing and retailing, however, appear to be on more of an upward trend in spending than other industries, Coupa says.

The Coupa BSI is a buyer behavior-based index built on three areas of spending data: average spend per person, average time to approve spending decisions, and average rate or approval or rejection of spending plans. Coupa compiles this data from the volume of transactions flowing through its business spend management platform, which connects hundreds of buying organizations with more than five million suppliers worldwide.

The index breaks out businesses in five industry categories: financial services, health and life sciences, high-tech, manufacturing and retailing.

It notes the following spending trends for each category:


Financial services—Business spend sentiment appears to be weakening, as indicated by a 47% drop in average spend per person and an increase of 19% in time required to approve spending; global trade conflicts, including the United Kingdom’s Brexit plan to leave the European Union have contributed to uncertainty in business plans.

Health and life sciences—Although business spend sentiment is above average, it dipped in the second quarter as the average spend per person decreased  21.6%, likely driven by uncertain government policy plans.

High tech—As the industrial category most susceptible to global trade frictions, high tech may see a decrease in spending because of increased risk to global supply chains, but may be more likely than other categories to see a positive impact

Manufacturing—Although business spend sentiment fell sharply last year, it increased 13.1% between the first and second quarters and appears likely to continue increasing.

Retailing—Business spend sentiment fell by 3.8% between the first and second quarters, but it’s still higher than average, driven by consumer spending.


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